The Bulldog is iconic. It is one of the best-known symbols of the United Kingdom, being a living representation of the country’s tenacious spirit. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Bulldog is the perfect dog for you. Perhaps you are concerned about its health issues, which are so bad that the BBC reports veterinarians begging interested individuals not to get one of these dogs. Alternatively, you might have qualms about some other aspect of its existence. Whatever the case, if you like the general idea of this dog but not so much the specifics, you should check out the numerous dogs similar to the Bulldog.
1. American Bulldog
American Bulldogs are cousins to Bulldogs. In short, English immigrants brought their Old English Bulldogs with them when they moved to the United States. They were working dogs in their old home. Subsequently, they remained working dogs in their new home. That is a notable difference from Bulldogs, which became companion dogs even though they also descend from Old English Bulldogs.
Supposedly, one of the reasons that American Bulldogs remained working dogs was the presence of feral pigs. Science says humans domesticated pigs thousands and thousands of years ago. Since then, we have brought them with us throughout the world. Pigs made their way to what is now the United States in the early modern era before proceeding to become an invasive species. In this, they benefited from their strength, stubbornness, and remarkable opportunism. However, pigs also had no native predators in what is now the United States. Some people might not think much of the threat of feral pigs. If so, they should know that feral pigs cause enormous damage to human interests. Moreover, it isn’t unknown for them to attack humans. Under those circumstances, canine deterrence was valuable.
In modern times, American Bulldogs still have a protective streak. They form strong bonds with their human family members, but they are much more reserved towards strange humans and strange animals. Please note that American Bulldogs need activity, training, and socialization. They become destructive when they don’t get enough activity. Similarly, they become fearful and aggressive when they don’t get enough training and socialization. All of these things are very bad for their households.
Interested individuals crossbred the Old English Dog with a wide range of other dog breeds. The Boxer is an excellent example of the products of those efforts. In its case, it descends from not just the Old English Dog but also the Bullenbeisser, which was a hunting dog that did some bear-baiting and bull-baiting on the side. Indeed, Dog Breed Info says the latter was sometimes called the German Bulldog.
Originally, the Boxer was a hunting dog like its Bullenbeisser ancestor. With that said, it has long since made a successful transition to being companion dogs that happen to be great at protecting the home. Boxers get along great with all kinds of people. That includes children because of these dogs’ considerable patience when interacting with their loved ones. Be warned that these dogs’ interactions with other dogs are somewhat more mixed. Reportedly, they consistently have positive interactions with puppies and smaller dogs. The issue is that they can experience issues when interacting with bigger dogs.
3. Cairn Terrier
If you are interested in Bulldogs, you shouldn’t necessarily stick to Bulldog relatives. The Cairn Terrier is an example of an unrelated dog breed that can work out well. Initially, these dogs debuted as Short-Haired Skye Terriers, which was reasonable because they trace their roots to the Isle of Skye. That caused a fuss from Skye Terrier dog breeders, with the result that people renamed these dogs Cairn Terriers. There is something of a resemblance between Skye Terriers and Cairn Terriers. Even so, it is easy to distinguish one from the other because Cairn Terriers have much shorter coats that give them a rough and ready feel.
Personality-wise, Cairn Terriers are smart but strong-willed. If you aren’t confident in your ability to lead, you might want to look elsewhere because fixing a Cairn Terrier gone wrong is going to be much more difficult than training one right in the first place. Terriers being terriers, Cairn Terriers are also very active animals. As such, if you prefer a more sedate lifestyle, you should check out more sedate dog breeds than this one. Bored Cairn Terriers are destructive Cairn Terriers. It doesn’t help that these dogs are natural diggers, as pointed out by Wag!
4. French Bulldog
French Bulldogs are close relatives of Bulldogs. Unsurprisingly, they descend from Old English Bulldogs. Specifically, the AKC says the smaller Old English Bulldogs had a longstanding relationship with English lacemakers. No one knows why, which isn’t exactly an uncommon scenario for obscure historical topics because of the lack of context. The important part is that English lace makers brought their Old English Bulldogs to France when the Industrial Revolution replaced them with much less well-paid individuals working at machines. There, those Old English Bulldogs caught on, so much so that the French started importing more and more of those smaller Old English Bulldogs. Over time, this enabled the creation of a new companion dog, which was similar but not the same as its relatives on the other side of the English Channel.
There is much to like about French Bulldogs. As a rule, these dogs are agreeable and affectionate. Alas, the breeding for ever-increased cuteness has hit French Bulldogs hard in much the same way as their English counterparts. The Guardian reports that veterinarians have issued similar warnings for these dogs because of their flat faces and other health problems. Thanks to that, if you don’t want to deal with a higher-than-normal chance of serious medical issues for your dog, you might want to look elsewhere. Going to a reputable dog breeder can help out to an extent, but at the end of the day, French Bulldogs are in such a very bad state that this extent might not be as much as what you would like.
5. Gull Terrier
Pigs aren’t the only animals that have spread out because of us. Much the same can be said about dogs. For proof, look no further than the Gull Terrier from the Punjab region in South Asia. Some people might wonder whether it is a case of a non-European dog being called a terrier without being a terrier because it looks like a terrier. If so, they should know that isn’t the case. Gull Terriers descend from true terriers, thus giving them a very good claim to their name.
As the story goes, the British brought Bull Terriers with them to the Punjab region in South Asia. There, the Bull Terriers bred with the local Bully Kutta, which The Smart Canine says is a powerful dog hailing from the Indian subcontinent. The first Gull Terriers saw some use for bloodsports. Later, people started using them as guard dogs. Luckily, Gull Terriers are surprisingly trainable dogs that are friendly towards their human family members but much less so toward everyone else. These traits make them quite good at the latter job.
6. Italian Greyhound
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Italian Greyhounds look like Greyhounds. Still, you can distinguish the two dog breeds with few difficulties because Italian Greyhounds are so much smaller at less than 11 pounds in weight. Indeed, Italian Greyhounds are the smallest of the sighthounds, which is quite impressive considering that there are other hunting dogs specifically meant to go after hares and rabbits.
Regardless, Italian Greyhounds are sweet-natured dogs. However, this is most true when they are interacting with either their chosen family or even their chosen family member because they can be much less enthusiastic towards other people. Some of that lack of enthusiasm is aloofness, while the rest is shyness. Italian Greyhounds are highly-energetic animals. If you get one, you should expect to provide it with daily exercise to keep it happy and healthy.
7. Olde English Bulldogge
Nowadays, we use Modern English. Before that, there was Old English, Middle English, and Early Modern English. Old English is the language of Beowulf. It is effectively a different language, meaning it isn’t understandable for the average English speaker. Middle English is the language of Chaucer. By this point, the language is similar enough that interested individuals should be able to recognize at least some of it, particularly when they pronounce it out loud.
Early Modern English is the language of Shakespeare. Anyone who comprehends Modern English should be capable of comprehending Early Modern English. Unfortunately, full understanding isn’t guaranteed, not least because spelling standardization didn’t happen until more recent centuries. Olde English Bulldogge is a clear attempt at evoking a sense of age by using alternative, old-sounding spellings of familiar words.
As for what the Olde English Bulldogge is, well, everything goes back to the fact that a lot of people like Bulldogs. Specifically, they like Bulldogs so much that they are trying to restore an older, healthier look for the dog breed. Dogster claims that people have already made a great deal of progress in reclaiming the Old English Bulldog’s athleticism without reclaiming its aggression in the process. Due to this, the Olde English Bulldogge is an obvious choice for people who want a Bulldog without the Bulldog’s health issues.
8. Spanish Bulldog
The Spanish Bulldog isn’t a relatively new dog breed like the French Bulldog. It traces its roots to ancient times, so much so that some people think they descend from dogs brought to the Iberian Peninsula by Germanic peoples during the Migration Period. Whatever the case, the Spanish people have put the Spanish Bulldog to a wide range of uses. For example, these dogs accompanied the conquistadors. Likewise, these dogs saw extensive use for bullfighting. Other roles included guard dogs, hunting dogs, and even cattle-herding dogs.
Despite its versatility, the Spanish Bulldog came close to extinction in the 20th century because it was replaced in most of these fields by modern technology. It was pure luck that interested individuals stumbled upon an intact population in the Basque Country in the 1980s, thus enabling a full-scale revival. These dogs have a thoughtful look, which reflects their calm, quiet nature. Still, the formidable nature of these dogs is evident in a single glance.
9. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Sometimes, the same origins can lead dogs down very different outcomes. For instance, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier came into existence through the crossbreeding of bulldogs and terriers. It shares that with the Bull Terrier. Amusingly, the two don’t look very similar because the Staffordshire Bull Terrier lacks its counterpart’s egg-shaped head. That is a good thing rather than a bad thing. It isn’t uncommon for Bull Terriers to have breathing problems, which are very much connected to their egg-shaped head. As for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the modern version is a much milder, much kinder animal than its ancestors. Even so, it is full of spirit, meaning it is disinclined to back down from challenges.
Whippets look like smaller Greyhounds because they descend from smaller Greyhounds. They aren’t as small as Italian Greyhounds though because they fall into the range of medium-sized dogs. Generally speaking, Whippets are gentle animals that can be surprisingly peaceful despite their famous athleticism. They make decent watchdogs because of their willingness to bark when they see suspicious strangers. Simultaneously, they make terrible guard dogs because they just don’t have the mentality needed to confront those suspicious strangers effectively. Still, dogs don’t need to be good guard dogs to make good companion dogs. Be warned that Whippets tend towards separation anxiety, which needs careful management for the best results.